WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - President Donald Trump is contradicting the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the potential availability of a coronavirus vaccine to the general public and on mask-wearing.
Trump said Wednesday that a vaccine will be available as early as October and in mass distribution soon afterward — much sooner than was projected in congressional testimony earlier in the day by Dr. Robert Redfield.
Trump says Redfield “made a mistake” when he told lawmakers that any vaccine available in November or December would be in “very limited supply,” and reserved for first responders and people most vulnerable to COVID-19. Redfield estimated the shot wouldn’t be broadly available until the spring or summer of 2021.
"I think he misunderstood," Trump said. "I don't have to go through this. I think he misunderstood the questions. But I'm telling you, here's the bottom line, distribution is going to be very rapid. He may not know that, maybe he's not aware of that. And maybe he's not dealing with the military, etc like I do. Distribution is going to be very rapid, and the vaccine is going to be very powerful. It's going to sell solve a tremendous problem."
After Trump’s comments, CDC officials claimed Redfield thought he was answering a question about when the vaccination of all Americans will be completed.
Trump also disagreed with Redfield about the effectiveness of protective masks, which Redfield had said could be even more helpful in combating the coronavirus than a vaccine.
"The mask perhaps helps," Trump said. "A lot of people didn't like the concept of masks initially, Dr. Fauci didn't like them. I'm not knocking anybody because I understand both sides of the argument. But when I called up Dr. Redfield today, I said what's with the mask? He said I think I answered that question incorrectly. Maybe he misunderstood, maybe he under this understood both of them. The answer to the one, it's going to be a much faster distribution that he said. Maybe he is not aware of the distribution process, it's not really his thing as let's say it is my thing. The distribution is going to be much faster. I hope that the vaccine will be a lot more beneficial than the masks because people have used the masks."
Trump also added that masks are not more affected than a vaccine.
A vaccine is much more effective than a mask if we get the vaccine, but know the mask is not as important as the vaccine," Trump said.